Title:
Systems and methods for playing Liar's Poker
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed are systems and methods for playing a poker-type game having a plurality of players. More specifically, disclosed is a method of playing a Liar's poker-type game that includes simulating the U.S. currency bills normally used in the game and providing a method for betting on same. The game can be played, for example, with real money, using credits, using tournament chips, or using in-game money in a gaming community. The game can be played in a live table environment, over the Internet or using an electronic gaming device (e.g., PDA, Blackberry, cell phone, IPOD, etc.). In the disclosed method, a uniform table wager for each player and a random serial number is generated for each player. A first player places a bid, which includes a value component and a quantity component. Each successive player either bids or challenges and the bidding or challenging in continued until all players have challenged the last made bid. Then the best hand available is determined based on the serial numbers of each of the players. The winner is determined by comparing the last player bid against the best hand available.



Inventors:
Lewis, Jeffrey (New York, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/157541
Publication Date:
01/22/2009
Filing Date:
06/11/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030064767Computer controlled card gameApril, 2003Brown
20090029770Indicator, Gaming Machine, Game SystemJanuary, 2009Nagano
20080125229Game System, Game Server Device Therefor, and Method of Controlling Game Server Device, and Game Device Therefor and Method of Controlling Game DeviceMay, 2008Jonishi
20050186999Video bowling gamesAugust, 2005Melgosa et al.
20090305758GAME APPARATUS AND PROGRAMDecember, 2009Nomura
20070105610Memento dispensing device with simulated gaming featuresMay, 2007Anderson
20070191095GAME DEVELOPMENTAugust, 2007Mclennan et al.
20040143852Systems and methods for massively multi-player online role playing gamesJuly, 2004Meyers
20060287108WAGERING GAME WITH USB NONVOLATILE STORAGEDecember, 2006Canterbury
20060258436MULTIPLE SPIN SLOT MACHINESNovember, 2006Mcbride
20090117989Wagering Game System With Player RewardsMay, 2009Arezina et al.



Primary Examiner:
MOSSER, ROBERT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP (Boston, MA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for playing a poker-type game having a plurality of players, comprising the steps of: establishing uniform table wager for each player; generating a random serial number for each player; randomly selecting a first player from among the plurality of players; receiving a bid placed by the first player, wherein the bid includes a value component and a quantity component; receiving a bid or challenge by each successive player; repeating the bidding or challenge step until all players have challenged the last made bid; determining and displaying a best hand available based on the serial numbers of the players; and displaying the winning and losing hands.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the game is played via an electronic gaming device.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the game is played using a gaming table.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the game is played over the Internet.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the random serial number is generated using cards.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the value component of the bid is a number from a group of possible integers used to generate the serial numbers of the players.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the quantity component is a number between 1 and a multiple of the number of players and the number of integers used to generate the serial number of a player.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the player who placed the last bid may raise his own bid once after all other players have challenged his bid.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the best hand is determined by taking all of the numbers from each player's serial numbers and determining the largest combination of the same number that can be made, and if two or more numbers have the same largest combination, the higher of the numbers.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the wager can include money or tournament chips.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the winner is determined by comparing the bidding player's bid against the best hand available.

12. The method of claim 1, wherein the game can be played by up to 6 players.

13. A system for playing a poker-type game having a plurality of players, comprising: means for establishing uniform table wager; means for generating a random serial number for each player; means for randomly selecting a first player from among the plurality of players; means for receiving a bid placed by the first player, wherein the bid includes a value component and a quantity component; means for receiving a bid or challenge by each successive player; means for repeating the bidding or challenge step until all players have challenged the last made bid; means for determining and displaying a best hand available based on the serial numbers of the players; and means for displaying the winning and losing hands.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein the game is played via an electronic gaming device.

15. The system of claim 13, wherein the game is played using a gaming table.

16. The system of claim 13, wherein the game is played over the Internet.

17. The system of claim 13, wherein the random serial number is generated using an electronic random number generator.

18. The system of claim 13, wherein the value component of the bid is a number from a group of possible integers used to generate the serial numbers of the players.

19. The system of claim 13, wherein the quantity component is a number between 1 and a multiple of the number of players and the number of integers used to generate the serial number of a player.

20. The system of claim 13, wherein the player who placed the last bid may raise his own bid once after all other players have challenged his bid.

21. The system of claim 13, wherein the best hand is determined by taking all of the numbers from each player's serial numbers and determining the largest combination of the same number that can be made, and if two or more numbers have the same largest combination, the higher of the numbers.

22. The system of claim 13, wherein the wager can include money or tournament chips.

23. The system of claim 13, wherein the winner is determined by comparing the bidding player's bid against the best hand available.

24. The system of claim 13, wherein the game can be played by up to 6 players.

25. The system of claim 13, wherein the game is played using a player's cell phone.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/594,413, filed Dec. 8, 2006, the disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to methods and systems for playing and running a game of Liar's Poker. More specifically, the invention involves a method of playing a Liar's poker-type game that includes simulating the U.S. currency bills normally used in the game and providing a method for betting on same. The game can be played, for example, with real money, using credits, using tournament chips, or using in-game money in a gaming community. The game can be played in a live table environment, over the Internet or using an electronic gaming device (e.g., PDA, Blackberry, cell phone, IPOD, etc.). The invention also relates to a method of charging for the service of providing the Liar's Poker game to the players.

2. Background of the Related Art

Liar's Poker is a popular game that can be played with a large number of players and no supplies. While there are a number of versions of Liars Poker, this invention most particularly deals with the version wherein each player's hand consists of an issued U.S. Currency bill, which has a serial number consisting of 8 numbers and several letters. Each player can see his own bill's serial number, but not the serial number on the bills of the other players. Each player looks at his own bill's serial number and attempts to determine the best possible “poker hand” that can be made with the numbers from all the bills in play in the game.

Poker in all its forms has long been a popular form of entertainment. Recently, online games, and particular online poker games of every sort have also become a popular form of entertainment. Normally, the games are independent of the user's platform and only require the user to utilize a web browser (for accessing the Internet) and the software plug-in associated with the game. The present invention may be used in conjunction with such a system. For example, the software for supporting the present invention may reside on the server and platform associated with one of the many existing gaming web sites, or on a web site specifically built and designed to support the software for implementing the present invention. The mechanism for writing the software and implementing the hardware for supporting the present invention are well known in the gaming field.

At online poker websites, players may gather from all over the world to participate. Online sites provide simulated tables for poker games, and the games can be played for real money or play/game money, such as online gaming community credits. Online poker tables typically seat up to 10 players per table. Online poker also allows players to play more than one hand at a time by having separate windows for each table the player is playing a hand at.

Online poker typically has the disadvantage that a player cannot observe the opponents, but it allows players who would otherwise not have the opportunity to travel to a casino or poker game to have access to a game. Further, online play allows players to anonymously play from the comfort of their own home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Poker, in any form, has always been considered a game which requires high levels of skill, despite the inherent luck involved. This is often seen in players who would otherwise play choosing not to play at a particular table or with particular opponents because they lack the requisite skill.

Liar's Poker in particular is a game of skill. While the numbers on each player's bill are random, either through random generation (such as in the present invention) or through random bill selection, the makeup of that bill has a minor effect on the outcome of the game. Playing with two players, a single player's bill makes up only half of the available data. Playing with three, each player's bill accounts for one third of the available data, and so on. In the standard six-person game, most of the data that will determine the best possible hand is unknown by each player. The game is one of imperfect information and the players search for information through the bidding process with other players. Winners do the best job of interpreting the information provided them by the other players and the best job of providing as little valid information as possible in return. The crux of the game is communication and interpretation, not the random numbers.

Because Liar's Poker is played with issued currency bills, it is difficult to play the game online where the bills of the opponents cannot be checked. The present invention provides a means of running a Liar's Poker game online that simulates the U.S. currency bills, and therefore, allows authentic Liar's Poker play in an online situation.

Computerized versions of Liar's poker have been provided which offer a version of the game, which uses the amount bet to set the winning bid, and which allow for play against the computer. However, these do not simulate the skill aspects of Liar's Poker or the interaction between the bidding/raising rounds. Moreover, online versions of poker have been described in the art. However, these versions do not simulate the game of Liar's Poker as played herein.

There is a need therefore, for a version of Liar's poker which allows for multiple players to participate in the game and is adaptable for use in either an electronic, Internet or live format.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a method for playing a poker-type game having a plurality of players. The method includes the following step, among others: establishing a uniform table wager for each player; generating a random serial number for each player; randomly selecting a first player from among the plurality of players; receiving a bid placed by the first player, wherein the bid includes a value component and a quantity component; receiving a bid or challenge by each successive player; repeating the bidding or challenge step until all players have challenged the last made bid; determining and displaying a best hand available based on the serial numbers of the players; and displaying the winning and losing hands.

In certain embodiments, the game is played via an electronic gaming device. Handheld wireless devices, such as cell phones, PDAs and iPODs can be used. However, it is envisioned that other electronic gaming devices can be used, including tabletop devices and other platforms, which are specifically designed for gaming applications.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, the game is played using a gaming table. In certain constructions, the table is an actual table as opposed to a virtual table. The table can include a card shuffler or an electronic random number generator or other computer-based device for use in generating each player's serial number. It is also envisioned that the game of the present invention can be played over the Internet.

In a preferred embodiment, the value component of the bid is a number from a group of possible integers used to generate the serial numbers of the players. Moreover, the quantity component can be a number between 1 and a multiple of the number of players and the number of integers used to generate the serial number of a player.

In certain embodiments of the game, the player who placed the last bid may raise his own bid once after all other players have challenged his bid. Still further, it is envisioned that the best hand can determined by taking all of the numbers from each player's serial numbers and determining the largest combination of the same number that can be made, and if two or more numbers have the same largest combination, the higher of the numbers. Preferably, the winner is determined by comparing the bidding player's bid against the best hand available.

In certain embodiments of the disclosed game, the wager includes money or tournament chips. Typically, up to six players can play the game.

The present invention is also directed to a system for playing a poker-type game having a plurality of players, the system including, inter alia, a mechanism for establishing a uniform table wager and a mechanism for generating a random serial number for each player, such as, a random number generator or multi-indicia playing cards.

The present invention also includes a mechanism for randomly selecting a first player from among the plurality of players and a mechanism for receiving a bid placed by the first player; wherein the bid includes a value component and a quantity component.

Still further, the present invention includes a mechanism for receiving a bid or challenge by each successive player; a mechanism for repeating the bidding or challenge step until all players have challenged the last made bid; a mechanism for determining and displaying a best hand available based on the serial numbers of the players; and means for displaying the winning and losing hands.

Those skilled in the relevant art will readily appreciate that a single mechanism or device can perform many of the tasks noted above without departing from the scope of the present invention.

As noted above, in certain embodiments, the game is played via an electronic gaming device. Handheld wireless devices, such as cell phones, PDAs and iPODs can be used. However, it is envisioned that other electronic gaming devices can be used, including tabletop devices and other platforms, which are specifically designed for gaming applications. Moreover, in alternative embodiments of the present invention, the game is played using a gaming table. In certain constructions, the table is an actual table as opposed to a virtual table.

The primary object of the invention is to provide an easy play online version of Liar's Poker.

Another object of the invention is to simulate the nature of play of a game of Liars Poker when using U.S. currency bills provided by each of the players.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide an easy means to track the bidding and challenging in an online game without hindering the game play.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide an easy means to determine the winning hand and determine the winning player.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a means for the host of the online game to extract a fee directly from the players for each hand.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide an easy to play version of Liar's Poker for hand held and/or portable game systems which communicate with each other without use of the Internet.

In an aspect of this invention, a method is provided for providing a game that is played online such as via the Internet so that a user may play against other remote players. This method includes utilizing a computer to generate for each player a random serial number which is displayed via the Internet to that individual player in the form of a mock up bill. During play, each player looks at his own bill's serial number and attempts to determine the best possible “poker hand” that can be made with the numbers from all the bills in play in the game. The random generated serial number may have 8 digits as in United States currency or some other number of digits.

The only possible “poker hand” is a grouping of the same card (“a pair, three of a kind, four of a kind, etc.”). The numbers represent a card of the same number, with a “0” on the bill representing a “10”, and the best “card” being a 1 representing an “Ace.” For example, if Player A has 12345678 and Player B has 34567890, then the best possible hand that could be called from the two bills would be a pair of 8s. As with standard forms of poker, more of the same card, or the same number of a higher card would represent a better hand. For example, three 8s beats two 8s, and three ones beats three 8s. The players bid hands by making a statement of what they believe to be the best hand that could be made from the serial numbers of all the bills in play. For example, in the same two-hand game between Player A and Player B, player A might start by bidding two threes. The next player must do one of two things: challenge or raise.

After the initial player has bid, the other players (and eventually the first player when it is his turn again), may in turn raise or challenge. A “raise” is a bid (or statement) of a hand that would defeat the previous bid as explained above. In the example, Player B would have to bid at least two 4s or challenge. In the present invention, a player raises by filling in the quantity and value of his bid in provided cells via a computer interface and then selecting a Bid/Raise button through the computer interface. A “challenge” is a statement that the player believes that the best possible hand is weaker than the previous bid. The players will continue taking turns raising or challenging until all the players except one have challenged the bid of the remaining player.

When a bet is challenged, every player who challenged the bid has locked in a bet against the bidder for the unit of the table. In the invention, a player challenges by hitting a provided challenge button through the computer interface. A player challenged by all other players, has one opportunity to raise his own bid. Then the other players must once again decide to bid or raise once a player is challenged by all other players twice, the hand ends and the computer shows all the mock bills and determines the best hand available. Based on this determination a winner is decided upon, and the funds credited and debited automatically. For example, in the two-hand game discussed previously, if Player A bids two 8s and Player B challenges, player A will win as each bill has an 8. If B raises, and A calls, B will lose because two 8s is the best possible hand.

The game can be played in a variety of virtual environments. In one preferred embodiment of the invention, the environment would be a representation of a Wall Street trading desk. In such an environment, bids and raises would be displayed on virtual computer monitors which represent each player. These virtual computer monitors are displayed via the Internet on each players' own computer or other internet platform. Additionally, in this preferred embodiment, advertisements could be placed on the virtual desk on virtual items such as a soda can, blackberry, deck of cards, cell phone or other common item.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

So that those having ordinary skill in the art to which the disclosed invention appertains will more readily understand how to make and use the same, reference may be had to the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a view of the display that a player of the game would see on his computer, portable game device or other online platform when playing Liar's Poker using one embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 2 is a flow diagram illustrating the flow of play of game of Liar's Poker provided online or on a portable game device using one embodiment of the invention.

These and other features of the systems and methods of the present invention will become more readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In the following description of exemplary embodiments reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and which is shown by way of illustration a display that may be used when the invention is practiced. It is understood that other displays may be utilized, as display, operational and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Generally, in a first embodiment, the present invention provides an online game and a manner of providing such online game. The invention provides a manner for allowing the play of Liar's Poker through the use of mock currency and an easy to use bidding system. More particularly, the invention is implemented through the use of randomly generated serial numbers which mimic the serial numbers found U.S. issued currency. Thus, the players are able to play as if they were using currency from their wallet, despite playing online.

In accordance with the invention and as shown in FIG. 1, in the online version a mockup of currency 1 is displayed on the screen next to seats at a virtual table. A randomly generated sequence of numbers (1a) together with the currency unit bid (1b) appears in each player's mock currency 1. A player's sequence is viewable only by the individual player until the end of the hand when the winning hand is displayed. The periphery 6 of the player's mockup currency will flash when the player's turn to play comes up.

Near each mockup currency 1 are displayed two buttons 2 and 3. These are the BID/RAISE (B/R) button 2 and a CHALLENGE button 3. Also displayed will be two cells, Quantity or Bid Amount 4 and Card Value 5, which can be filled in by the player. The B/R button 2 will only activate if the player has filled in both the Quantity cell 4 and Card Value 5 cell 5. A placed bid will be displayed to all players in a display area 7, and the bid will remain visible for the duration of the hand or until it is replaced when the player raises his own bid. A bid which has been raised will be denoted with an R next to it.

Finally, displayed next to each player's mockup currency may be the player's account 9, which indicates the amount of funds available to the particular player to be bet on hands.

FIG. 2 is a flow diagram illustrating one embodiment of the play of the present invention. In the illustrated embodiment, the game can begin when more than one player has been “seated” at the virtual table. Every five seconds after a game ends, a new game starts with a number of players equal to the number of players seated. A player sits at a table which determines the unit ($1, $5, $10, $20, etc.) being bet on each hand at that table. All players therefore, will bet the same unit of currency. The units can be in real currency or in credits or other online community based units.

At the beginning of the game, an indicator, similar to the “button” in physical poker will rotate around the table to determine who bids first. When the game starts, a randomly generated sequence of numbers 1a together with the currency unit bid 1b will appear in each player's mock currency 1. A player's sequence is viewable only by the individual player until the end of the hand when the winning hand is displayed.

The periphery 6 of the player's mockup currency 1 will flash when their turn to play comes up. A Player will have 20 seconds to either bid/raise or challenge an existing bid. If the player does not act within 20 seconds, the amount of the bet will be forfeited. A bid is placed by filling in the number of the “cards” of the bid in the Card Value cell 5 and the number of those cards in the Quantity cell 4. For example bidding three 8's would require putting “3” in Quantity cell 4 and “8” in Card Value cell 5.

A placed bid will be displayed to all players in a display area 7, the bid will remain visible for the duration of the hand or until it is replaced when the player raises his own bid. A bid which has been raised will be denoted with an R next to it. After a bid is placed, the periphery of the mock currency of the next player in turn will flash, indicating that it is their turn. The turn sequence will repeat for each player until all players except the last bidder have challenged a single bid. At this time the last bidding player will have one opportunity to raise his own bid if the last player raises his bid, then the turn repeats for all players until all the players challenge the last bidder a second time. After each player has had the opportunity to challenge a second time, the hand is over. When the hand is over, the best hand is indicated in the center of the screen 8, all of the player's mock bills will be revealed, the winner's mock bill will turn green and the losers' mock bills will turn red.

The hosting website will automatically deduct the unit in play from each loser's account and will credit each winner's account 9 an amount equal to the total of losing player's bids.

In one embodiment of the invention, the operator of the hosting website will take an automatic “rake” or percentage of the total units in play on each hand in order to profit on the games. For example, a host could set the rake to deduct 5% of each hand to a maximum of $1 per player.

In another embodiment of the invention, the game is provided on software used in portable hand held game systems which can communicate directly with each other without accessing the Internet. The game play and visual embodiments for such a version are the same as if it were online, but without the need for a hosting website. Instead, the portable system's software will provide the game, and the systems will communicate between the players for purposes providing the tables.

In this embodiment, an additional first step is added, wherein the player is given a choice of either searching for an existing table within range or creating a table. If the player searches for a table, the system will detect if any portable system within range is hosting a table, and the player will have a choice to sit at any of the tables that are located. If the player elects to create a table, the player's portable system will provide a signal to other portable systems that it has a table available for other players to sit at. Once the players have seated themselves at the table, the game proceeds as described above.

For the convenience of the reader, the above description focused on representative embodiments of the invention for the purpose of teaching the principles of the invention and to convey the best mode contemplated for carrying out the invention. The description has not exhaustively enumerated all possible variations. Other undescribed variations or modifications may be possible. For example, it will be possible to combine elements of different embodiments, or to combine elements of the embodiments described here with other modifications or variations that are not expressly described. Many of those undescribed variations, modifications and alterations are within the literal scope of the following claims and others are equivalent.

FIG. 1 illustrates a preferred embodiment of the invention, in which the environment would represent a Wall Street trading desk. In such an environment, the bids and raises would be displayed on virtual computer monitors 7 which represent each player. This preferred embodiment shows advertisements placed on the desk on virtual items such as a soda can 10, cell phone 11, and cigarettes 12, as examples. Other virtual representations of common items could be used for such advertising space.

Although the game of the present invention has been described as being played over the Internet in a web-based application, those skilled in the art will readily appreciate that the disclosed game is suitable for use in casinos. Moreover, the game can also be played using a specially designed tabletop gaming device, such as often used for video poker.

In a casino environment, the game can be played using cards. The cards for example, can include at least one integer ranging between 0 and 9. The cards can also include a letter, such as an “A”, representing an ace or they can be multi-indicia playing cards, such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,445,391, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference. Moreover, each card can include an entire 8-digit serial number.

In the casino environment, the game can also be played using an electronic table, wherein each player's seat includes a monitor or other means for displaying at least the player's serial number. The monitor could also display all of the information illustrated in FIG. 1 and perform all of the functions of the Wall Street desk embodiment previously described.

The Liar's poker game disclosed herein is also well suited for use in tournament play, either live play in a casino for example, or over the Internet or other electronic device. The tournaments can be televised and include sponsors. The structure of the tournament game would be substantially similar to the previously disclosed method; however, the units wagered could be tournament chips rather than real money. All payers would start with the same number of tournament chips.

In certain tournaments or methods of the present invention, the players would play hands for units that were successfully higher. For example, players could receive 1000 tournament chips. For 15 minutes, they could play for 10 units, the next 15 minutes they would play for 15 units per hand, the next 15 minutes they would play for 20 units per hand and etc. As players are eliminated, new players move in to fill the empty seats. Eventually, a final table would be established, and ultimately a winner would emerge once all of the chips are secured by a single player. Prizes, either in cash or in kind, could be awarded to the top finishers.

An advantage of the Liar's poker game of the present invention over the prior art is that it is substantially less complex than prior art poker games: thereby enabling the game to move quickly which decreases the associated operational overhead. The simplicity of the game and the pace at which it can be played also makes it suitable for players who do not have a lot of time to play. For example, in metropolitan areas many individuals travel to work via a short train or subway ride. The speed and configuration of the game of the present invention would allow these individuals to play a select number of hands during their commute.

A further advantage of the game of the present invention is its simplicity and accessibility to the ever-increasing numbers of novice gamblers. Therefore, despite the popularity of both craps and roulette, the inventive game presents several advantages to casinos and players alike.

A still further advantage of the game of the present invention is the simplicity of betting wherein a winning bet is easily recognized.